By Polo Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
About a month ago, I decided to give myself a Netflix vacation, not a permanent one, but a short recess for 3-6 months. I love TV and Film and Radio, and anything that is enriching and creative and fun to ingest, I devour. I was beginning to feel that the stories being produced were all the same, with a different cast, so I decided to venture into Hulu and watch more of their classic TV episodes in order to try to understand what it was about them that made them classics and have become part of the quintessential universe of story telling around the world, not just the US, according to the critics that claim them to be so.
Then I saw a post, as I was doing some inquiry into the new Selena series that is being produced for Netflix, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed “Fluffy,” comedian Gabriel Iglesias, and the title of the new show created by Kevin Hench, who also co-created “Cristela,” with comedian Cristela Alonzo. I pressed the trailer and voila, I wanted to see the show, or at least the pilot.
I did not expect “Mr. Iglesias,” on Netflix, or anywhere for that matter. I have enjoyed Gabriel Iglesias comedy for many years and to me this is a well earned platform. Did I miss the publicity, was there any marketing? I like “Fluffy” and I was hoping to love “Mr. Iglesias,” and I am so relieved to say that is the case. I recognize the teachers, the administrators and especially the students. The chemistry is charming and most importantly it is funny without being sarcastic.
The sitcom pilot establishes many opportunities for stories and characters that we will love and hate, or both at the same time, that’s how dramatic audiences can be. The students are diverse and compelling, the educators are quirky and authentic, the school is authentic, and based on the real school Gabriel attended, Wilson High School in Long Beach, but it is filmed at CBS Center Studios. The pilot also establishes its gravitas with its title, “Some Children Left Behind.”
“Mr. iglesias,” is in the same vein as “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” ” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” It is not poking fun at an institution, not making fun or dismissing any of the characters, it is dramatizing for comedy the daily life of a teacher who cares and is trying to protect the students he works with and cares for and identifies with. The cast of his fellow educators is also very refreshing and perfect for the story. Gabriel has been surrounded by a competent, strong cast of veteran actors, as all shows should be and the writing staff seems to be ready for this challenge. What a concept, Bravo!